Levi's jeans, jackets and shirts have been the top clothing collectible for 20 years. Levi's company always enjoys hearing from you if you have an item from there history. But how do you know if it's old or desirable as a collectible?
Let's start with our famous 501® jeans. Turn up the cuff and check and see if there is a section of white fabric or "selvage" showing, as shown in the photo. If not, then it's a pretty modern pair and doesn't fit into the historical category. However, if the jeans do have the selvage, read on.
Next, take a look at the right back pocket. Do you see our famous red Tab? Is the word LEVI'S in all capital letters, or does the word Levi's look like it has a small letter "e" instead? Check out the photo; the Tab with LEVI'S (also known as "Big E") is the older one, and these jeans are from before 1971.
As you go further back in time the jeans are much harder to find because they are really getting old. The jeans won't have a red Tab, they won't have belt loops, etc.
What about jackets? Well, older jackets will have only one pocket on the chest, like the one shown here. And if the jacket doesn't have the red Tab it will be from before the mid 1930s so we're really getting into the desirable area.
Levi's has made so many collectible products over the years: gabardine shirts, rayon Western shirts, khaki riding pants, you name it. Levi's is always interested in hearing about these products and are happy to provide historical information for you about anything you have.
So, if you want to know the age or historical context for your garment, here's what you can do:
Take photographs of the front, back and any labels of your garment and e-mail them to Historian Lynn Downey, LDowney@levi.com.
Or, if you prefer, you can send your photographs to Lynn Downey via the U.S. mail: Levi Strauss & Co., 1155 Battery Street, San Francisco CA 94111.
Due to the volume of requests Levi's receive, they cannot reply via phone. And please allow 1-2 weeks for a response via email, 3-4 weeks by U.S. mail.